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Review: Factor Lando XC

Sep 18, 2023
by Henry Quinney  
Factor entered the mountain bike sector last spring with the Lando XC and HT bikes. Although they might be new to mountain biking, they're certainly not new to the industry. They own their own factories in both China and Taiwan and have manufactured for some of the biggest frame brands from mountain biking's old guard.

Their range of two bikes, a hardtail and the 120 mm full suspension bike that is reviewed here, caters towards the classic cross-country market and, although they're reasonably progressive compared to bikes of just a few years ago, they're definitely not downcountry or ready to rip trails. These are bikes for racers, weight weenies and people who want to travel at pace in both comfort
Factor Lando XC Details

• Travel: 120mm front / 115mm rear
• Carbon frame
• Can house dropper
• 67º head angle
• 75.5º seat angle
• 435mm chainstays
• Reach: 460mm (large)
• Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
• Weight: 10.79 kg (23.78 lbs)
• Price: $9,199 USD
• More info: www.factorbikes.com
and style. Although the term might have gone slightly out of fashion, I would term the Lando XC a true marathon bike. 29" wheels, 115 mm of rear travel, and a design that hopes to blend capable geometry with all-day performance on big rides.

In 2023, pinning down exactly what an XC bike is can be a cruel task. Is it the 120 mm Scott Spark? Or is it the hardtail-with-travel Specialized Epic? Although enduro and downhill bikes often get the credit for having some of the most ingenious design solutions, one could argue that the divergence between World Cup cross country bikes is just as interesting.

Could this contrasting approach within the heart of the category risk flattering nobody? Hardtails that are too heavy for the old purists, but a true-XC 120 mm travel bike will get the snot kicked out of it by any decent new-wave downcountry bike on any descent going. I suppose only time will tell. The limiting factor of a downcountry bike isn't nessecerily how well it climbs or descends, but rather how comfortable, fast and efficient it is on flatter terrain. While this might not sound exciting or particularly noteworthy, the way your sick enduro angles hold your upper body weight is very different to an XC thoroughbred.

The Factor XC is one of those thoroughbreds. To my mind, it is a thing of beauty. The lines are smooth, clean, and simplistic. I think there is a certain charm to the frame that blends some angular tubes with a flowing linkage and stays. But how does it stack up in this topsy-turvy trail-bike-obsessed world? Is there still a place for the true XC bike?

photo
Factor makes some great looking bikes, and I would include the Lando XC in that. However, different colorways suit it better in my opinion.




photo
The headset itself allows for a full 360 degrees of rotation, and that's where this bump-stop comes into play. If it's good enough for downhill...

Frame Details

The Factor's frame features strike a balance between practical and particular. There are some things that this bike can't shake, and features that will leave some heading straight to the comment section, but there also seems to be a genuine attempt to make this bike cover as many bases as possible. I like most of the frame features, including the threaded T47 BB, which gives the oversized option that will please some racers, and the threads and adaptor options that will satisfy the home mechanic. Plus, there is the option for internally routed headsets as well as the option to run them through the frame. Whichever you go for, there are blanking plates that come with the bike to cover up any holes.

Factor say they have a vertically orientated shock to reduce frame weight. This is because the BB junction of a frame already has to be reinforced, so it doubling up on duties can mean that somewhere else can go without the extra material needed to house a shock eyelet, such as the top tube. The bike uses a one-piece carbon rocker link and a split downtube. There is a small rubber cover to hopefully stop debris from going through the split. The system looks well-finished, but isn't the easiest for shock access. You need a special fitting for your shock pump, although it's not a big deal and thankfully comes with the bike.

photo
The 150mm Transfer SL is a lightweight post with an even lighter action.

There are also routing options for dropper posts. Although not featured in the build kit, I ran a 150 mm Fox Transfer SL dropper throughout testing.

The frame has three down tube bosses on the upper side of the downtube for extra placement options and the ability to house larger bottles. There are also extra bosses on the underside of the top tube by the seatpost junction for tools, and on the top side of the same tube behind the headset for any extra storage. There is routing for a mechanical drivetrain and a maximum chainring size of 36T.

There is also an anti-rotation guard. While on trail and enduro bikes this is an annoying feature, on this style of bike it makes total sense because the bars are run so much lower. If it saves your top tube then it's justified, in my opinion. In the headset, you'll find Ceramic Speed's SLT bearings which "require no maintenance and are practically indestructible."

In fact, the only feature I don't particularly enjoy is the road-style flat-mount brake caliper. In fairness to Factor there is no reason to run anything bigger than the 180 mm max-size rotor on a bike such as this, but I don't like the feeling of limiting brake options. There might be the benefit that because the thread is housed inside the caliper itself it stops you from having to bond metal inserts into the rear triangle which could result in weight savings, and also the added benefit of a symmetrical rear end which is claimed to provide better shock performance, but in my experience these reasons don't warrant being baked into running smaller, weaker and less cross-compatible brakes.



photo

Geometry

This bike is available in the longer travel 115 mm version that features a 45 mm shock stroke, or a 100 mm racier version that has 40 mm. You could change this stroke after the fact or, if you were running the 115mm version, just run less sag and do without the spacer.

When you order the bike from Factor you can choose the stem length of your choice for the integrated bars. This is between 60 and 90 mm. If you're going to have one-piece bars and stems then this is surely the way to do it. On our test bike, we ran the 70 mm stem. This played in nicely with the 460 mm reach of the size large. The chart doesn't quote an effective top tube length but it feels relatively middle of the road. While at t just over 600 mm the stack isn't extreme for a bike of this ilk, it does give a low position that weights the front due to its height more than the rider being in an excessively long and stretched-out position.

The 67-degree head angle is very new-school XC, and along with the reach numbers and 435 mm chainstays give a bike that might not be trail-bike stable, but one that should yield a good degree of balance.

The relatively steep seat tube of 75.5 degrees does mean that running no dropper could be slightly more invasive than the slightly slacker bikes of yesteryear. That said, for an experienced XC racer this shouldn't be a problem.

photo
The lower stay goes through the downtube, as is afixed to the front triangle by the same hardware that holds the shock.

Suspension Design

The bike uses a faux-bar system that is clean and elegant. It relies on a flex pivot in the rear end. That rear triangle is manufactured as one piece, and as stated in reference to the brake caliper, is focused on low weight and perfect alignment. The better alignment a system has the better the suspension performance will be, especially on smaller bumps, as there's less friction to overcome. It should also improve reliability.

All hardware fasteners are on the non-drive side, just to make your XC Insta spam really pop. The way the stay pierces the seat tube is also very elegant, and to my mind, the way the lower shock hardware fixes through both the frame, stay, and shock seems like a halfway house between a four-bar and a Maestro in its layout.


Factor says "The philosophy behind our kinematics keeps anti-squat in the 90% range to ensure the suspension will stay firm but active when you are pushing the watts." A value below 100% means that the bike should still be able to come into its stroke, even under acceleration. This should, theoretically, make for a comfortable bike that is very adept at finding grip under power on lumps and bumps.

Specifications
Release Date 2022
Price $9199
Travel 115 mm
Rear Shock DT Swiss R232 One
Fork DT Swiss F 232 One
Cassette SRAM 10-52 XX1 Eagle
Crankarms SRAM XX1 Eagle
Rear Derailleur SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle
Chain SRAM XX1 Eagle
Shifter Pods SRAM XX1 AXS Eagle
Handlebar Refined carbon barstem
Stem Refined carbon barstem
Brakes SRAM Level Ultimate
Wheelset Black Inc 27 wheels
Tires Maxxis Aspen 2.25
Seatpost Fox Transfer SL 150mm

photo
A better look at the rear-layout.

photo
One piece bars are annoying on trail and enduro bikes but it's hard to argue with them for this purpose.




Test Bike Setup

Setting up the Factor was relatively painless. As stated, I installed a 150 mm dropper post at the very start of the test period. I am of the generation where I've almost always had the luxury of a dropper in the time that I've been pedaling bikes off-road, and this dog cannot learn new tricks - especially when the trick features a high likelihood of wide-eyed terror, a sickening thud and me ringing Max the producer in distress to to ask him to come drag me out of a ditch.

There were some other kinks that needed working through in the bike's spec, too. Firstly, SRAM make good brakes, but I find their soft organic pads to be severely undercooked. On a bike with smaller rotors, small levers and even smaller calipers it makes no sense to peg the performance of the bike back further by soft pads with no bite. The grips also were also changed immediately from the stock dual-clamp SRAM models that came fitted.

Cannondale Habit LT review
Henry Quinney
Location: Squamish
Age: 31
Height: 183 cm / 6'
Inseam: 82 cm / 32.5"
Weight: 77 kg / 169 lbs
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None

I typically ran the bike with 28 psi in both front and rear tires. In recent years I've spent more and more time on trail and enduro bikes. After a few initial forays out on the trail, I ended up spending an afternoon setting up the suspension with a BYB Telemetry kit. As a result, I ran more sag than one might typically run on an XC bike (30%) but I also got a bike that not only gripped more but made better use of its excellent and effective DT Swiss remote lockout. It was soft for grip, both going up or down and then perfectly locked with a very light touch. The DT Swiss kit, while not impressing me in every regard, at least does this very well and is a far nicer execution than most.

That's not to say all was well with the haywire front end though. The cable fouled on the steerer. It wasn't so much that you heard it when you were descending, but rather you could feel it as you turned the bars at higher angles at lower speeds. I'm not sure this is ideal for either cable or steerer in the long run.

photo
Squamish isn't all enduro. There is some great XC and mellow-trail riding here too.

Climbing

The Factor is a good climbing bike, and strikes up an interesting proposition. If you've got a remote lockout, then it would be great to really utilize it and have a very very soft open mode, for ultimate traction, a middle mode for descending, and then the lock out for road section. However, I never really felt I could get the grip or tracking from the bike that I wanted. It's efficient, but I would argue too much so.

The claimed anti-squat of around 90% at sag for the lowest gears just didn't add up for me and it raises an interesting point - anti-squat values are just often harder to pin down and quantify than is ideal. The height of the rider's center of gravity, plus other factors, can easily throw it out. Before looking into it, I would have thought this bike had values of over 100%. There is an important note though - this is compared to other bikes that are limited by the same inconsistencies. So maybe the Factor numbers are correct, and other brands are a little out. Either way, I would have liked a lower value and better tracking for technical climbs.

photo
DT Swiss execute the three-position remote better than most, and you'll find yourself using it more than you'd think.

For those that do want a firmer feeling XC bike, this does do a great job at giving that; I'm just not sure how that fits in with it comfortable marathon bike. It feels racier than that. It's a bike for turning a big gear at pace and using its speed and drive to get over rougher sections, rather than cruising and managing to seek out grip.

That then bleeds into compliance. It was hard to say exactly, but it felt like the 1450g Black Inc Twenty Seven wheels were a little too stiff for me. On bigger hits or chunkier terrain, it felt like there was enough flex in the frame to generate some comfort but on higher frequency bumps on seated traverses or fire roads, even when not pedaling, I felt like it could do more to cope with small bumps and stop the rider from feeling so rattled. Like I said, I can't say for certain, but that would be might first point of call if I was looking at dialing in the spec for some more comfort.

The bike, when up to speed, does do a good job of holding its momentum through corners and switchbacks, no doubt thanks to that low front end. Leaning into turns while climbing, and cranking hard is a gratifying experience on any XC bike, but the Factor goes forward with such purpose it makes it particularly enjoyable. The 60 mm stem and 760 mm far felt good to me, too, and felt low without being uncomfortable or unstable.

photo
I rode this bike on similar trails to what modern XC World Cup tracks are like - fast with moderate tech but also fun.

Descending


The geometry of the Factor Lando XC is fundamentally good. It's not so out there that it loses that step-to of a 10k race bike but it's also very capable. I think to go too progressive or slack with this style of bike can leave you in no man's land, with a very light bike that isn't burly enough for what it's geometry is for, but too sluggish to feel exciting and alive on the trails it should be suited to in the first place. All that said, it wasn't without its quirks.

photo
The low front meant to you really had to push the bike through and off drops or rolls.

Firstly, the forks are overdamped and also make some concerning noises. I rode this bike on the style of trail that makes me get excited about XC. In my head, it was very much in line with the modern World Cup courses, even if it might have been a little rougher than what some people consider classic cross-country. Even then though, I struggled to find I was riding in a way that warranted the level of compression damping these forks had in their most open setting. Secondly, when off the brakes and going through compressions sometimes the forks would twist enough that the rotor would rub and scrape very loudly. After another compression, it would quieten down. This was very uninspiring and not what I'd expect of a bike that is this expensive.

photo
The Level Ultimate brakes have recently had a big update, and that power would have been welcome during testing.

The suspension is a different story though, and Factor has done a very respectable job making 115 mm go far in terms of feel. It's smooth, it's supported and it would put some trail bikes to shame in terms of its overall feel. I do wish, especially with the inclusion of the remote, that the open mode was more open in terms of its compression damping. That said, these things are a compromise and I'm sure there are plenty of racers who would like it how it is, thank you very much.

photo
photo
The lockout was great but I have reservations about the chassis of the fork.

photo
The Black Inc Twenty Seven are stiff - excessively so.

Again, I still have reservations about the wheels. I felt like there wasn't quite as much torsional stiffness out of the rear as I would have liked yet there was still some harshness present. In my experience, this makes me look to the wheels. The Black Inc Twenty Seven wheels were tensioned very highly, which would support this theory to my mind.

The low front might be a little much for some, but the 460 mm reach for my large meant that I was always able to keep danger at bay, and it felt like it blended front-end precision with an ability to get over the rear axle relatively easily.




photo
Factor Lando XC
photo
Santa Cruz Blur TR

How Does It Compare?


These bikes are so similar in their angles and dimensions. A few mm here, a 0.1 of a degree there. They do ride differently though, and it mainly comes down to the suspension. They have similar features, although the Blur TR has a better rear brake mount, and can fit two water bottles inside the main frame all while keeping them upright. Apart from that there isn't much to split them. Normally these sections can be quite long, but I think this will be relatively brief.

Simply put, the Factor is far more responsive under power and the Santa Cruz, when seated, is a lot more comfortable. I would say that in terms of suspension feel, the Factor offers a system that copes better with being ridden hard. It's kind of strange, the road bike brand has made a suspension system that works better for riders who push hard, and the mountain bike brand has made a system that's far more comfortable for those who wish to sit and spin. Then again, maybe Santa Cruz knows the importance of tracking under load and holds it in higher regard.

The Santa Cruz does have a trump card up its sleeve though - it can also quite happily accommodate a remote lock-out. I can't imagine a world where you wouldn't want its comfort when you can tune it out when the moment suits you. To my mind, it's better to have it and not need it than lack tracking no matter how open and soft you go with the shock.



Which Model is the Best Value?


The Factor offers a frame and suspension package for $4,499, a rolling chassis less the groupset and brakes for $6,499, and the full bike you see featured here for $9,199. I'm not sure any of them represent great value. If there was a frame-only option maybe that could be a good starter to put the parts on that you love. The Factors are nice bikes, but I can't say they're really trying to be anything other than what they are - premium and luxury mountain bikes.


photo
Light, even weak brakes are one thing, but making them worse with porous pads with no bite is another thing entirely.

Technical Report


DT Swiss Suspension: The DT Swiss FT232 One fork (120mm) and DT Swiss R232 One shock did something really well, and have to take their share of credit for how well the bike handles repeated hits, but I do wish the fork could be run slightly softer in terms of compression, and some of the noises that came out of it, not including the loud slurp-and-burp of its damping circuits, were disconcerting. That said, the remote is one of the nicer ones I've used.

SRAM Level Ultimate Brakes: These brakes are fine for what they're meant to do. Would I prefer XTR? Honestly, yes, but sooner than swap them out I'd at least try some proper metal brake pads. The soft organic ones are just no good - especially when your XC, lightweight brakes don't have much power to begin with.

Dropper post: Should this bike have a dropper? That's hard. I think it deserves it and most people would run one. It would be nice to see it included, especially for that price.

Wheels and Tires: The Black Inc wheels are a strange beast, and I would argue too stiff. At 1450 grams they're also not the lightest, and for all that money I don't think it would be unreasonable to hope for something that was either more comfortable, lighter, or a combination of both.



Pros

+ Modern XC geometry done right
+ Excellent suspension for pushing hard
+ Either-or cable routing and other pragmatic features
+ DT's remote lockout works very well
+ Light enough
Cons

- Fork isn't as good as other offerings
- Could be more comfortable



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesFactor's mountain bike debut is an impressive bike. Although not in the ways I expected. Factor makes road bikes for serious riders and world-tour racers, and this bike is aimed at a similar crowd - people who want performance and are probably happy to forgo a little comfort if it means they get a bike they can push harder. It's fast, fun and ready to rip. I only wish it offered more comfort and tracked slightly better when seated and pedaling.

Henry Quinney


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149 Comments
  • 83 6
 Factor and Specialized are two examples of brands still selling XC bikes without dropper posts, and testers fitting them afterwards before providing a review. Review it with the original seatpost in some BC chunk and let them know how you found it, otherwise we'll keep getting gravel bike specs so that they can cut costs and save weight.
  • 30 8
 there are some weirdo's, like myself, that are stuck in the early 00's and still run no dropper on their XC rig....I took the dropper off my Oiz and run a setback Thomson post
  • 8 5
 @SATN-XC: ha, me too. Just a regular post. Haven't had an issue ever. Maybe like pedals, bike companies think dropper posts are personal? And since they aren't cheap like grips, or a crappy saddle, they just skip them? That's one theory.
  • 8 2
 I mean, it’s pretty reflective of where XC racing itself is at, no? The field, certainly at the elite level, tends to be pretty split between high posts and droppers. I don’t see it as very surprising that we see a similar split in the marketplace.
  • 3 2
 115mm doesn't really scream BC chunk to begin with. Dropped the dropper from my Blur TR and haven't looked back.
  • 12 1
 Modern geometry demands the use of a dropper so we can use the bikes to it's fullest.
  • 11 0
 Yeah in the value and pros/cons sections I think: "Doesn't come with a dropper post" would be valuable information to include. The bike is probably a totally different experience downhill w/out dropper.
  • 9 1
 @BrambleLee: Who's not running a dropper at the world cup level?
  • 27 0
 @packfill: Apparently no one. I just cruised thru last week's gallery from the Les Gets XCO, and literally every bike where I was able to see the seatpost had a dropper. Looks like, once again, I'm full of shit.
  • 4 0
 @packfill: Luca Schwartzbauer. Doing pretty well without it.
  • 1 0
 @GoranNaVAjt: Sam Gaze, VDP when he did race XC, there were a few more actually, I just forget who. Not many though.
  • 1 0
 @BrambleLee: Which racers are left in the WC? All the women use them l believe. There were some men who didn't. Mvp never did.
  • 4 3
 yup, review it with the original post. sure most buyers might install a dropper, but plenty wont. when I see a bike reviewed I want to see the whole bike tested & that includes the original seatpost.

Pinkbike need to stop substituting their own prefered parts & review every bike as it arrives from the manufacturer
  • 3 0
 @scantregard: I care more about practical use cases if I'm in the market for a bike. Maybe they could do one ride without a dropper to get an impression, but if I'm going to run it with a dropper, I don't want to parse through a review saying "well if it had a dropper..." this and "really held back by high-posting..." that. Similar to when bike reviews ding the final score for not liking the tires that are on it. Cmon. Mention that you don't like the spec but don't stop there.
  • 1 0
 I've bought and sold bikes with droppers that I used once, to see if it worked. And yeah, while up there in age I still jump my XC bikes higher than the FMF I was jumping in 1978. Didn't have a dropper then, and we had our seats up to ride around everywhere too.
  • 2 0
 @packfill: exactly, almost everyone has dropper, speaking XCO format. 90% of riders at least.
  • 2 0
 @northboy: World Cup XCO to be precise. Local,or even national level races for the most part don't have the same technical challenges,so you won't find many riders using dropper posts.
And then,the other 99% of the people who will be buying this bike will be riding it on little more than gravel roads,that's just how it is.
  • 3 0
 @HankHank Your statement is misleading. Specialized DO sell their XC bikes with droppers - all Epics and Epic EVOs come with them. Only the high end World Cup doesn't. And that's normal at the high end, for examples some Trek Supercalibers don't either.
  • 2 2
 The logic "XC racers run lower pressures, so 28 psi is too high" is obviously completely wrong. Same goes for "I'm running lower pressures, so 28 psi is too high".

People like Pidcock who can ride a bike fast uphill and downhill are very rare, and it seems none of them are on here.

If you run said tyres with low pressures you know at least one area where you can improve your riding.
  • 1 0
 Henry mate, grow some.
Quit trying to be non committed and caring of the manufacturer!
“I'm not sure this is ideal for either cable or steerer in the long run.”
You should say “this is dangerous”, because it is dangerous
  • 33 1
 sub 80kg rider on Maxxis Aspens at 28psi...I need to see this video
  • 31 1
 It's Pinkbike, I'm surprised he didn't swap for DH or at least DD casing. But yes, anyone I know in that weight range on Aspens or Ikons, Rekons, etc would be around 20-21psi and it certainly would be less harsh. But again, it's Pinkbike and they shred sidewalls off all their tires for some reason.
  • 22 0
 seriously, would explain the "Could be more comfortable" Con. I'm 205 and run 21-22psi on Rekons and Ikons.
  • 4 0
 @yupstate: are Aspens that firm? I ride my Specialized Grid Trails (probably equivalent to EXO+) at 24/26 at 80kg. Lean the bike more than the body approach - to engage side knobs - will fold over a thin tire at 21psi.
  • 24 29
flag henryquinney FL Editor (Sep 18, 2023 at 9:37) (Below Threshold)
 I don't think 28PSI is a crazy amount at all. Yes, you could run lower, but if I'm riding singletrack I get burping, instablity and rim-strikes with a sidewall that thin.
  • 15 4
 That was a red flag in the review for me also. Then again so was the line that if you want the bike to have less travel, you just run less sag. Sure, if you want to wreck your kinematics for an absolutely garbage ride, that will work fine...
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney: How does it compare to the Trek Top Fuel which you favored in the “down country” shoot out?
  • 10 0
 @ultimatist: I haven't ridden Aspens personally. I don't have the article link handy but I recall seeing a post where World Cup XC racers listed their setups. I recall many tire pressures below 20psi. Now body weight has alot to do with it, but under 80kg (77 listed for Henry) is still pretty low and 28psi seems super high to me. I actually weigh the identical 77kg and run my Rekons at 20/19 on 28mm rims.
  • 17 0
 @henryquinney: Real question I have, no shade, is how are the World Cup pro XC racers getting away with under 20psi on Aspens and the like? Obviously they are faster than any of us posting here and if your single-track truly does represent something similar to what modern XC tracks are made up of..then what gives? I hear the same thing from some folks I ride with that are slower than me for comparison, that they need to run DD tires at 30psi or "the sidewalls roll over". Yet I'm beating them down the hill on my 20psi Rekons? I'm no amazing rider, just trying to understand the logic. Do some people just have a super heavy/aggressive turning style?
  • 1 0
 You beat me to it.
  • 20 5
 @Lokirides: sorry - how do you think stroke limiting spacers work? It’s still the same eye to eye, just different stroke/sag.

In relation to pressure, it’s not as cut and shut as saying - but racers run less. Some do. Some also run inserts, and static droppers or thicker tyres. I stand by my pressures, and we need to review bikes that are setup best for the people reviewing them - not some conceptual person that may or may not exist.
  • 12 0
 I weigh 77kg and run Aspens on 30mm rims on a recent vintage Oiz. 16psi front and 18 rear, but I should probably increase that a little (I burped the rear on a fast descent a few days ago). I'm and old XC racer guy for reference. 28 seems insane.
  • 11 0
 I totally agree with these comments - 28psi seems crazy high to me. Any xc bike is going to feel harsh on bumps running psi that high.
  • 17 1
 @henryquinney: another vote for anything past 22/23psi on xc tires missing the point of xc tires.

on my xc rig, I could run 28psi on similar tires and also force them to have problems with sidewall. But if I don't think about it, I just set off and do the type of ride that these bikes are built for, matching my riding lines and energy expenditure to the time and distance I expect to be on the bike, anything over 22/21 for me is more pressure than necessary.
  • 21 1
 @henryquinney: You're right, of course, pressures do vary from racer to racer - but no XC pro is running 28 psi, ever. The variance is 15-24 psi or so, depending on conditions and rider weight.

What you're likely forgetting is that XC racers - even pros - don't usually throw a bike into corners during a race like you enjoy doing, because it's a waste of energy and no faster. These guys and women are usually running less suspension sag than you'd consider ideal, and the tires act as a low-amplitude filter, taking the edge off the chatter while allowing the suspension to be firm for climbing and accelerating. Their setups are ideal for their use case.

FWIW, I'm on 2.2" Cross King/Race King tires with Vittoria XC inserts at 18 psi. I can get away with even less on a 2.4" Aspen. I only weigh 150, but raced pro XC as well as BMX and DH in the past. I just don't ride my XC race bike like I ride a trail bike. If I ran softer suspension and firmer tires, it would be less efficient for hard accelerations and out-of-saddle climbing.

I'd wager that those tires at 22 psi would be a totally different ride, but you make a good point that a rider more concerned with riding it like a downcountry or light trail bike would be better served with suspension components with less compression damping, or a different bike altogether.

As another datapoint, I owned a new Blur before my current Exie - the low antisquat value Blur really needed the lockout for hard accelerations or climbing out of the saddle. I only touch the remote lockout on the Exie for the road ride to the local trails.
  • 4 1
 I run an ikon rear and can squirm it at anything less than 30psi in the right berm. I'm an OK rider but nothing exceptional.
  • 4 0
 @henryquinney: You'd have a lot more compliance and traction at 22R/20F. That's what I run on Ikons or Rekons for something like the Grand Junction Off-Road. Aspens are a little wimpier, so I could see 23/21, or 24/22, but damn bro, 28? I guess you like to send it, and maybe you've just gotten use to using Cushcore or something. You're certainly a good rider from what I've seen, so I'll cut you some slack, but 28?
  • 3 0
 @cqbent: I agree with you, but I also look back and laugh at myself having to run 40psi in 1.9s with tubes back in the 90's just to avoid pinch flats on my 71/73 HT/STA 60mm travel hardtail bouncing down National Trail at Somo. No wonder it felt so sketchy LOL.
  • 6 6
 @henryquinney: I really should not have to explain how suspension works to a pinkbike bike reviewer, but if you think simply bumping up the psi on your shock to reduce travel is the same as a stroke reducer... sorry, that's just not going to work very well. Air pressure isn't really what's limiting travel on a shock - that's the stroke length / bottom out bumper. I would assume you'd want to be able to bottom out your shock after appropriate ramp up (If I never bottom out my shock on rides, I start taking air out to get full travel occasionally). If you just pump that sucker up so you can't bottom out any more, that's going to make your ride very harsh. Talk to some of the other editors - you're giving bad advice there.
  • 3 14
flag TannerValhouli (Sep 18, 2023 at 14:16) (Below Threshold)
 If you don’t ride like a weenie (road rider on a mountain bike) and weigh over 150lbs you’ll be burping XC tires and destroying sidewalls with anything less than 28 psi.
  • 3 1
 @SATN-XC: must be going pretty slow
  • 5 3
 @Lokirides: You shouldn't be trying to explain this to a bike reviewer because you clearly are the one who does not understand what you are saying. Increasing the suspension pressure by 10-20% is a totally valid way of reducing the effective travel. That is to say, the travel that the bike uses for a ride of normal intensity. If you were running suspension with reduced stroke, you would have to run somewhat higher pressure anyways to avoid excessive bottom outs for a ride of the same given intensity.

Like Henry said, the suspension kinematics do not change appreciably until near end of stroke regardless of if you are running 20mm of sag out of 100mm or 20mm out of 115mm, IF the eye to eye does not change. However, the impact energy that the suspension is capable of absorbing does change. This can be represented by the integral of suspension reaction force over the length of its stroke, giving the reaction work done by the suspension. Longer suspension travel of a given 'firmness' is capable of absorbing more energy.
  • 6 0
 @yupstate: "how are the World Cup pro XC racers getting away with under 20psi on Aspens and the like? Obviously they are faster than any of us posting here"

Ummm.. Yeah, they're faster than us. They're also like 2/3 the weight of an average person of the same height.
  • 5 0
 @Glory831Guy: I think ability to take better line choices is also a big factor
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: It's also like riding whoops on a dirt bike. The faster you go, the more you 'stay on top' of obstacles and the less you ride 'in them.'

We could all run lower tire/suspension pressures if we were built like marathon runners. Few grown adults are though unless we're talking high level athletes.
  • 3 0
 @henryquinney: 20 psi with inserts is a better ride or 23psi no inserts but 28 is a lot
  • 1 0
 @1000paces: you're going slow and not riding rock gardens or jumps. Thats the difference.
  • 5 0
 @MutleyAdams: Wrong. Plenty of rock gardens here. I spent the last 20 years riding in New England (Steep, rocky and rooty ) and now live in Bend (lots of lava) and I'm reasonably fast. You are right about one thing - not much jumping. But jumping is slow ;-)

I've been riding since the early 1990's though, so I learned to pick a line before suspension and with very little suspension. 16-17psi is faster, but there are some risks to it. I'd probably agree with most of these replies that 21-23 is the sweet spot. 28 seems absurd to me though, unless you are trying to use the bike for something it's not designed for. But that makes me wonder why you'd pick that bike in the first place.
  • 8 1
 @Glory831Guy: Agreed but under 20psi is a lonnngg way from 28psi also and Henry only weighs 77kg/169lbs. I found an article about Nino weighing around 150 and he was running 16-17psi specifically on Aspens. So I think a few things.

1. If Henry was riding like a normal human he could probably run 21-23psi which is alot higher than Nino's 16/17 and it would also handle great compared to 28psi.

2. I'd like to see more of the trails he's riding in the review. I have an uneducated opinion that the Pinkbike reviewers are definitely fast but they are also downhill goons that smash rocks and corners on trails that are not equivalent to a normal UCI XC track.

I'd bet a UCI pro XC rider could make it down the hills Henry is riding some % faster than him. Then Henry could jump on that riders bike and immediately destroy a tire going slower.
  • 1 0
 @yupstate: It's hard to say what's better for everyone 100% of the time. At the end of the day it comes down to personal preference.

I run low 20's on my Enduro bike, and 25-30 on my trail bike also. My trail bike has 27mm rims though and the rears like to burp out pressure if I ride aggressively over rocks and roots.
  • 2 0
 @Glory831Guy: well the average person is fat but it says henry is 169 plus which is like which is pretty light for his height, still probably 10% heavier than World Cup XC guys but not 1/3 heavier
  • 1 0
 @xciscool: That stat probably changes a lot more for Henry than an XC racer, like it does for most regular folks. He probably bulks up a bit if he's riding his Spire a lot. I know I would gain more bulky muscle whenever I rode my DH bike a lot.

XC racers are probably under their listed weight in the middle of the season when they're training hard. So, it's hard to say very accurately.
  • 1 0
 @Glory831Guy: “more bulky muscle”? Is that what we call beer guts
  • 1 1
 @xciscool: Nope. Endurance athletes build small wirey muscle compared to other athletes. You also need more upper body strength to ride a 40lb DH bike and throw it around in the air.
  • 2 0
 @xciscool: Think Usain Bolt vs top marathon runners. There's a difference and one isn't "fat." Muscles form differently depending how you use them.
  • 5 1
 XC racers will run lower pressure than what a PB reviewer will run, regardless of weight.

People are forgetting that in an XC race you slaughter yourself up the hills and then go down the hill slower than you would in non-race conditions. Even more so if you are a good descender because you deliberately try to overtake on the climb so you aren't slowed down by the dirt roadies on the descent. So you don't need to worry about pinch flats as much.

And then there's grip. Can I climb steep fireroads faster with lower tire pressure? Absolutely! Because I can put more power down without spinning out.
  • 3 0
 @rideordie35:
You say : "Increasing the suspension pressure by 10-20% is a totally valid way of reducing the effective travel."

The thing is that this will also decrease your SAG and completely ruins the way how the bike feels versus how it was designed to feel. Its always better to play with spacers or even replace the shock for different tuning than to reduce SAG to single-digit values.
  • 4 0
 @henryquinney: I have noticed that test is with Aspen 2.25. I bet if you could try with Aspen 2.40 (quite commonly used at XCO racing) which would allow you to reduce the pressure quite significantly, you would have much better ride experience. More control, more comfort , better traction while safe margin for error and safety. I have learned that experimenting (reducing) tyre pressure at race XC bike often has more impact then tweaks in suspension. There is point where it all ads up, and that is as others say 16-23psi depending on riders weight for 2.4 tyres. I mean even for XCO rough type of terrains that you choose to ride for this test. IMO the reason may partly be because riding XCO lines in that rough terrain are technical and speeds are relatively less fast in those technical sections. Its not Enduro or DH where its technical and speeds are very high due to long straight sections on the track. Therefore I would not use the same pressures for race XC and Enduro like riding. Just my 2 cents.
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney: Marathon Nationals is this weekend in the US, there will be tons of guys and ladies on Aspens looking for a Masters jersey. I'll give you a cap of your favorite mushrooms for every one running more than 26#. I'm not sponsored by Factor, DT Swiss or Maxxis but I have never seen anyone running pressures this high in thousands of miles of XC racing across the US.
  • 3 0
 @henryquinney: strange.. i am a bit fat plonker, and i usually ride 22 in the front and 26 in the rear.. but maybe my trails aint that rocky
  • 4 0
 @henryquinney: It is a crazy amount in the XC world. WC guys your size are 20ish. Part of being really fast on an XC bike is knowing exactly where you can push and where you have to tap the brakes and slow down. It takes a bit of work to learn to ride low pressure without flatting or burping but when you do you are overall quicker.
  • 4 0
 @Glory831Guy: Yep, and their courses are way more polished. They have "features," but features usually aren't SHARP rocks. Where I live, it's just rough old trail and there are plenty of pointy rocks that emerge over time, even on a very flat, non-technical part of the trail. When I watch World cups, I see lots of roots and rock features, but not a lot of surface that looks like it would slice and poke tires.
  • 1 1
 @Glory831Guy: There is a difference, but while most top marathon runners look emaciated (because long distance running is a pure endurance sport), most XC pros really don't (at least not the lower body, because XC racing in the 90 minute format is a power endurance sport).

The Usain Bolt comparison makes sense if and only if the Enduro or DH rider is at the low bodyfat % of a world-class track sprinter. Some of the pros? Sure. But the average rider who says "I'm heavier because of all the extra muscle I have" is also carrying 10-30 extra lbs of fat along with that muscle.
  • 5 0
 I love how nobody has a strong opinion on this thread...

Anyway, there are too many variables at play to tell anyone (without understanding the context of their rides) what psi they should be riding. If tires are squirming, burping, or flatting, you're left only to suspension adjustments for comfort gains. I assume Henry made efforts on tires and suspension before straight labeling this bike as harsh.
  • 3 0
 @TannerValhouli: I weigh 175. I run my 2.4 aspens at 18/17 psi with no insert. My typical rides finish on the runs at the local DH bike park. I have yet to destroy my sidewalls or even burp a tire, and I ride them just about as hard as when I take my enduro bike on them.
  • 4 1
 @matyk: probably not riding very hard on either then
  • 2 0
 @ksilvey10: TV polishes things. We all know this. Go to a race in person and look at the trails and you will have a different oppinion.
  • 3 0
 @henryquinney: you are a bad reviewer for XC bikes, you have the thought of a enduro or trail bike on a xc bike , and are different things , i admire you for your knowledge on trail and enduro but not here.
run a 28psi on xc bike , with more reason you feel harsh and not comfortable, is not the bike fault is your fault. haha
  • 1 1
 @Glory831Guy: you mean average pinbike commenter? Who are much heavier than "avg" person.
  • 2 0
 @davidccoleman: mmmm, shrooms
  • 2 1
 @TannerValhouli: Or maybe you just destroy tires because you have no real bike handling skills
  • 34 11
 Soon to be found in a death grip embrace with it's dirt-roadie owner cleat-skidding down a rock roll on a blue trail near you.
  • 27 0
 Who, me?
  • 12 1
 Your judginess washes right off, like me sliding down that rock. (Except I can't afford this bike, so there.)
  • 45 2
 Or, and perhaps even more likely, making an enduro bro feel bad when some old school lycra clad mountain biker passes them by sending the tech black line they rode around on their 170 bike.
  • 13 1
 @Lokirides: nah, that will be on a 100mm travel hardtail, with a seat height around the nipples, wearing a uci replica rainbow stripes jersey, peakless helmet, fingerless mits and full carbon disco slippers, on the way home from a 50 mile 'quick morning ride'. This thing is far too modern. Rear suspension? Pffft.
  • 2 7
flag Glory831Guy (Sep 18, 2023 at 14:39) (Below Threshold)
 ... With his buddies in tow, riding two wide, apparently oblivious to the fact that it's a two way trail. People complain all the time about e bikes, but I have honestly had way more sketchy moments with the gravel grinders and XC boiz.
  • 4 1
 @Glory831Guy: two wide XC guys... so about the width of one Enduro bro?
  • 1 2
 @ultimatist: There's this thing called single-track where you're lucky if you can pass a single rider going the other direction. The lycra boiz always seem to think they have the right of way in these situations. Doesn't matter who's going up and who's going down. They always expect you to make way for them or stop so that their perfect Strava run doesn't get messed up.
  • 2 0
 @Glory831Guy: almost everyone gives you priority if you're descending in the East Bay. Sounds like SC needs to get their priorities right.
  • 15 0
 Respect for this well measured XC bike review Henry, nice read something that doesn't constantly revolve around gravity / dh focus.

I own a Blur and the traction is has is crazy, when racing on blind trails it's super nice to have the confidence that you will clean a section of technical uphill every time because of it.
  • 14 0
 Not sure what to make of a manufacturer who doesn't bother to list ETT on a bike where you spend most of the time sitting down. It's not even on the website. Instafail.
  • 14 1
 Stop being so reasonable. Most commenters only care about or know about reach and stack, not realizing that ETT is what makes a bike comfortable on long, big mountain climbs.
  • 2 0
 I mean if you’re gonna replace the seatpost anyways, you could always play with clamp offset
  • 1 0
 Totally agree. ETT is underrated for what most or many of us do.
  • 1 0
 @GTscoob: please explain. Im between a Large and XL and I think it comes down to ETT not reach. Older XL bikes had the XL ETT 650~ and the modern reach of a large ~475.

Now its 630 with 475 reach large or 650 with 495 reach XL.
  • 1 0
 @DetroitCity: ETT defines how your bike fits with your butt on the saddle. Reach shows how long the bike fits when you're standing on the pedals.

Pick your size off your fingertip to fingertip wingspan, not your height. You'll be much happier.
  • 1 0
 @GTscoob: Thank you. Im struggling to find the right size bike these days.

My height is 73 3/4" and my wingspan is 72 3/4". Thats why I'm moving back to larges now that bikes have gotten bigger.
  • 7 0
 @henryquinney I ride the Factor myself for over a year now and I convinced that the main things you wrote are due to the bad choice of the suspension parts.

I ride the SID 35 and SIDluxe, you won't need any adapters for the shockpump and it is just ripping while being super fast on the uphills and longer adventures.

Also the wheels are indeed to stiff if your not doing races like unbound or something, it was a massive change in downhill performance switching these.

For me it is my go to bike and altough it is insanely expensive (like everything else nowadays) im really impressed what factor did on there first try on an MTB Frame.

Just for the fact of "roadies doing mtb" I would have liked to see the comparison between the lando and the cervelo fs

Cheers!
  • 3 2
 True. 32mm stantions for a 120mm fork is just too skinny.
  • 6 0
 How much noise does that mud flap make? It looks like it contacts the frame every time the rear suspension compresses. And if it's not making noise, how much damage does that do to the frame over time?
  • 2 0
 Indeed, and it's gonna trap the dirt inside rather than protect the pivot from it.
  • 4 1
 Speaking of weight weenies on XC bikes, I'm surprised that XC bikes aren't specced with wolf tooth or 9point8 droppers. Those are by far the lightest weight droppers around. I mean, high end XC bikes should come with a dropper no matter what. But if you're getting a high end race machine, it should be specced with light weight and reliable dropper.
  • 3 0
 suprising they didn't stock this with the associated DT Swiss 232 ONE dropper post. Also pretty light and reliable.
  • 1 0
 @jona-mcc: is that one pretty light too? I'm not an xc racer or someone that counts grams, but that's good to know that ones lighter too.
  • 1 0
 Fox transfer sl>
  • 1 0
 @trevor-bag: Yeah, the Fox transfer is 30 or so g lighter for similar travel, but the DT is ~370g. I like that the inverted design makes it look like an ISP/seatmast on a Speedvagen, haha. And it's low-travel binary position is kind of all I want out of a dropper for my xc hardtail.
  • 1 0
 @jona-mcc:

Respectfully disagree. Compare the weights of the wolftooth at 160mm travel (slightly over the fox in weight) and then the 9point8 dropper (weighs just less than the fox transfer sl) at the same travel, comparing 150mm travel on both.

The bottom line is every company claims to have the lightest dropper. It isn't until you dig into the specs sheet that you realize which marketing materials you believed.
  • 2 0
 Hm, the fork twist -> rotor rub is interesting. I get the same thing happening on a new Fox 34, but was guessing it simply was the pads not pulling back proper. It's not the normal rub noise, more like you'd get from pedalling hard and leaning the bike over while you do so.
A couple jabs of the brake normally fixes it. Happens after heavy braking in the rough.
  • 1 0
 Where do you even buy bikes like this? I don't exactly see a bunch of Factor dealers around town. So many high end bike brands now. Kid of reminds me of the mid to late 90's when there were so many little brands that popped up, then quickly faded away a few years later. Not that I want only giant brands like the big T and S, but there are so many that I couldn't easily buy even if I wanted one.
  • 2 0
 Henry trying to elevate the suspension cycling video into high art by making run approximately 9 times as long as necessary, and adding a fancy credits sequence at the end. I see you.
  • 3 2
 im sorry, but kashima is all or nothing. There is absolutely NO performance benefit of kashima but to pull off the color scheme you need either just a fork or a fork and a dropper. Kashima dropper with regular suspension forks always looks off to me.
  • 1 0
 Henry mate, grow some.
Quit trying to be non committed and caring of the manufacturer!
“I'm not sure this is ideal for either cable or steerer in the long run.”
You should say “this is dangerous”, because it is dangerous
  • 1 1
 Good review @henryquinney - I reviewed a Lando XC last year and actually race one this season as well, for marathons and stage races. I think you had some great points on the bike. For me the cable routing is letting the bike down, without secured options for the hose/housing - and no guides. I run custom Fox Factory suspension items which are great - save for the lockout housing stop rendering the frame plug useless. So along with the headset routed options the frame lets water in - despite some custom silicone work.

On the tracking - I think for a lot of people having a stable base is good. I came off a very plsuh 120mm bike from the past few seasons and love that I barely need lockout save for sealed or smooth climbs. I also opt away from the stock wheels for most races as they weight about 300g over claimed, and I prefer a lower profile and wider rim paired with 2.4" Aspen/Rekion Race (plus a liner in the back). And not at 28psi but I'm not going to bother critiquing what another rider uses and trusts!

I'd love Factor to improve the routing options (yes, wireless is real, but not for brakes as of yet) and I'd look at a slightly longer reach, and size specific stays. Given they make their own bikes, at this pricing that should be possible. I really like that it is a racey ride - it suits their market and as a racer I really like the pedal response especially on steep and technical climbs - there is no wallowing around. I'll be interested to see if they do more in the MTB space, and what a V2 may look like.
  • 1 0
 It's good to hear someone else who's raced the bike. What's wrong exactly with the routing?
  • 2 0
 Frame kinematics analysis for this bike for anybody who is interested:
linkagedesign.blogspot.com/2022/12/factor-lando-xc-2023.html
  • 1 0
 Yep. Actually fairly low anti-squat values for a pro-level race bike, especially considering most will run a 34t or 36t ring vs. the 32t specified in the analysis.
  • 4 1
 That Kashima looks so out of place. On this thing it would look like a gold tube sticking out of someone's butt.
  • 2 0
 The dropper post doesn't come with the bike as standard, that was added by Henry for the review.
  • 4 0
 that's hot
  • 4 1
 I've got no problem with an XC bike costing £7500, but I do when that bike weighs over 10kg, and well over.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney
"For those that do want a firmer feeling XC bike, this does do a great job at giving that; I'm just not sure how that fits in with it comfortable marathon bike."

Nice semi-colon usage ;-)
  • 1 1
 the main pivot serving double duty with the shock seems old school but I guess it works. My Anthem is set up the same way. I would much prefer the Blur (in a nice salmon color thank you)
  • 4 0
 I see your Salmon Blur and raise you a "Purple Sweetness and Lavender" Wilder (Juliana's Blur branding). I'm secretly jealous of my wife for having one. It really stands out next to my murdered-out black bike.
  • 2 0
 Looks pretty but it's top tier pricing from a brand that has just entered this area of the market
  • 2 1
 This bike looks a lot like my 2017 Scott spark, complete with the stupid lockout and everything, lol. Top tube is a bit different, but otherwise it looks similar.
  • 1 0
 Specialized Epic and Santa Cruz Blur also look like an old Scott Spark nowadays, getting rid of Horst link and VPP and installing a lockout on top end models.
  • 5 6
 Paragraph 5 is a prime example of Quinney’s overwrought and convoluted writing style.

Also, that dumb little spar from the top tube to the seat tube is proof of crap design. Straight tubing, 34.9 post diameter, maximum dropper insertion are good to have on XC bikes too.
  • 6 1
 I’m sure he’s super grateful for any criticism of his writing style from comment-section randos.
  • 2 0
 Don't you guys have an editor who proof-reads these articles before they go online?
  • 2 0
 Pretty obviously not.
  • 2 0
 Outside+ articles are proofread but cost 1.99 per month. I can read through a few typos for the price of a ehhhh....half a gas station breakfast combo
  • 1 0
 I have Marzo Bomber 888 DH fork, open bath monster. The slurp of oil is very satisfying Big Grin
  • 10 10
 I have never understanded this brand. And it just look to me they use chineese catalogue frames only. There, I've said it.
  • 7 2
 This bike does not look any catalogue XC frame that I have ever seen. I challenge you to find this in any "catalogue". In the past maybe that's how this company operated, but they are not only ones who started that way. This bike is unique.
  • 9 1
 @TannerValhouli: that literally looks nothing like this bike
  • 2 4
 @chrisfrancato: minus the split near the seat tube junction and the flex stay it’s pretty hard to deny it’s similar and probably what the first commenter was referring to. It’s just a super common layout for xc bikes these days
  • 1 0
 As noted in the article, Factor owns their own factories in Taiwan and makes frames for other brands as well.
  • 2 0
 You missed the part that Factor have their own factory, they don't have their frames made by a third party. Some history of the brand - factorbikes.com/news/explore-our-history

That said the fact that it's profile is pretty similar to other bikes is a function of where we're at right now in bike design, there is a proven formula for what works.
  • 3 2
 @TannerValhouli: The only similarity in the example you provided is they are both XC MTBs.
  • 2 1
 You can read their whole background story on their homepage, even with pictures and videos so you can understand it.
  • 2 9
flag TannerValhouli (Sep 18, 2023 at 11:24) (Below Threshold)
 @j1sisslow: I don’t care about the specifics. I’m just saying that visually, they look similar. Just a fact. I know factor is obviously a high end quality product compared to the catalog frames.
  • 5 0
 @TannerValhouli: Perfect example of the modern comment section problem, you don't care about specifics but you have such a strong need to share your absolutely pointless and unrelated opinion on a review which is basically ALL about specifics. Classic.
  • 1 0
 @TannerValhouli: this next comment is way more entertaining than an edit button
  • 1 0
 @TannerValhouli: damn! It's exactly not even close to this frame.
You aren't reading this via braille are you?
  • 1 0
 I'd rather be flexing on another Pivot
  • 1 0
 Why wouldn't they have 2 cage mounts in that huge space
  • 1 0
 it does, under the top tube, not sure why they didn't make that clear.
  • 3 2
 Henry does an amazing job on his bike reviews, thank you.
  • 1 0
 THIS IS A REAL REVIEW. MORE OF THIS PLEASE.
  • 2 0
 I'd rather get an fm936.
  • 3 2
 Lando not Steezy
  • 1 0
 Its not worth 9k
  • 1 0
 UDH or no?
  • 1 0
 Yes it`s with UDH
  • 1 0
 Nice bike!
  • 2 3
 Lando is Steezy







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